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Kathy Cano-Murillo is known as the Crafty Chica. She's published six books on crafts, has a popular blog, writes a nationally syndicated craft column, and hosts a popular webisode series on LifetimeTV.com called Crafting With the Chica. Read more »
The holidays are to kids what chocolate chips are to cookies: Delightful, with a side of sensory overload.
It may seem daunting to make the most of the experience, especially when it's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season: working, shopping, decorating, hosting, eating, cleaning and cooking. Before you know it, December is over with. That's why it is so important as a parent to recognize and savor every special moment you can, not only for your child, but for you too! This is where crafting saves the day.
Even with Busy Parent Syndrome (that's what I call it), there are still oodles of easy ways to carve out time with your kids to make the most of the magic. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly projects that all have an artful twist. You can choose to give them as gifts or use them in your house for decorations.
Toy Shadow Box
Buy a wood silverware tray and stand it upright. Have your child color images, or choose his or her favorite photos and use a glue stick to line the back of the tray's compartments with them. Have your child gather up some mini-toys (think gumball machine size). Use a heavy-duty, non-toxic white craft glue such as Aleene's® Tacky Glue, and glue the toys upright to make a shadow box. Use Scrabble tiles to spell out a title of the art piece and glue the letters along the top of the box. Set it on a dresser to display, or add a hanging attachment. If you want to add a holiday element, buy some miniature holiday tree decorations and incorporate them. This is a wonderful way for kids to clean out their junk drawers and toy chests, and it teaches them about assemblage art, and even recycling!
Funny Family Wrapping Paper
Gather up family photos and color copy them. Also find some artwork or coloring pages from your child and color copy those too. Last, if you have a home copier/printer, take all kinds of small items, flat ornament, mistletoe, etc and have your child arrange them on printer/copier. Type up some of your family's favorite quotes - for example something that Grandma is known for saying! Cut out all these items so you have a lot of fun materials to choose from. Take an extra large piece of construction paper, and you and your child make a fun collage. Make color copies at your local copy center, and now you have custom wrapping paper for small to medium size gifts! For a smaller version, use a sheet of typing paper and use for making greeting cards or other crafts. You can keep the original and use it as a master to make more copies down the road.
Gingerbread Gift Boxes
Instead of making a traditional gingerbread house, make small gingerbread gift boxes to hold candies, cookies, gum or other small treats. Decorate the boxes with icing and gumdrops, let harden. Fill with treats and seal in a cell wrap bag and give out to friends!
As a mom of two, I've learned a few tricks and tips when it comes to crafting with the kiddos.